My daughter said that one of the best perks of my blog is that we get Disney movies delivered to our house. Tinker Bell: The Pirate Fairy is now sitting on our couch waiting for me to open it so she can watch it. Sounds like a nice reward if the kids get their homework done quickly tonight right? For me, it’s a great treat to get to talk to the creators of the films.
Well, While I was in LA for all things Disney, I had a chance to sit down with the Director and Producer of The Pirate Fairy and interview them.
Q: This is an amazing movie with an amazing cast. How did the casting go about?
PH: Well The Fairies franchise series, our main girls Tinker Bell, Silvermist, Rosetta, Iridessa, Fawn and Vidia have all been cast since the beginning. Right. So we have Jason Henkel here who’s like our casting director. And he’s fantastic. And then in this particular case, the cast we added was, Christina Hendricks (Zarina) and Tom Hiddleston (James), we worked with Jason, we talked about sort of what we wanted the, what the characters were like. And then he brings a list to us and in this case they are our top picks for each character, which was incredible.
JMC: It’s unusual and it was amazing, because obviously–
PH: Do you want to talk about Christina (Hendricks) a little bit?
JMC: Yeah-yeah-yeah. Christina I mean we really wanted that character (to come to life) there were a couple of things. We really wanted you to like her. And we wanted to find a character that was likeable but yet you could understand made a big mistake, and goes away. But also had to be powerful, I mean, she’s a seven inch fairy fighting pirates. So she’s got to be vulnerable and sweet out front. But then she’s got to be tough when she’s a pirate, so it took a really big range of acting and Christina Hendricks is amazing. And we all knew her from Mad Men and we knew she could have that sharp tone- tough wit, but she has such a sensitive soft side to her also. And she has such a passion for this passion and really excited by coming in and doing a fairy. She’s a, a huge Disney fanatic, so remember we showed her around the building and we were in the story room showing her art and she- she just was totally in the story about how it dawned on her. She was going to be a fairy. And that was huge, ’cause her and her husband go to Disneyland I guess all the time. And they don’t have kids and then so they love it. And so to become a fairy and part of the Disney legend, she was just thrilled to do and you can see that on the screen what she brought.
PH: So then Tom Hiddleston was our first choice, and yes, he did it! Which was just amazing. And one of the great things about Tom is first of all he’s a triple threat right. He can sing dance and act, which is amazing. He’s got a really extensive education background at RADA and things like that. And so of the things that Tom really understood for this character is that Hook is a bigger than life character, right. So we listened to the original book Hans Conried (original voice of Hook) and what Tom understood very clearly was that was a big performance but believable for the day.
Right, it was a completely believable villain for the day. And what Tom understood was how to then get a bigger than life character, a bigger than life performance that was believable for today’s audience. And Tom got that right off the bat. And had so much fun giving us little glimpses of aha- like the big laughs and just giving us little glimpses, ’cause he’s (Hook) only twenty years old. You know, our thought was that basically Hook is not as bitter, and evil as he is in Peter Pan yet. Because he hasn’t had all the failures. But you can see he’s going to start to have a lot of failures and a lot of things that go wrong for him. And he’s got big ideas that just don’t work out. You know, so Tom really had a handle on kind of how to make this a, make this character super charming and loyal and, you know, very unassuming. And then make that flip, which was great. And then we actually have for you a little sneak peek, we have a little behind the scenes of Tom recording the song and talking about the character. So let’s take a look.
JMC: And this was an actual session, not a mockup. Part of it was in the movie, but you’ll see the real session when we recorded him.
Q: What was it like doing that and did you have to get approvals?
PH: Well, you know, here we are, so, you know, we knew a couple things, as Jenni mentioned. We knew we wanted Zarina to make a mistake and run away from home, all right, so those are the things. And I wanted her to come back, ’cause that is what Disney is all about, is what Tinker Bell is about. She has a huge heart, Tinker Bell knows all about making mistakes and kind of owning up to those, right, that’s the kinda gal she is. And she’s super loyal. We know that from Peter Pan, you know. So we wanted to as Zarina running away from home, they live in Neverland. So where was she going to go? So we were in a story meeting with Jenni, myself, the other directors and writers, you know, we work with a story trust here, and John Lasseter. So we’re in a meeting, it’s a two hour creative meeting on the idea of this movie. And we’re throwing out ideas, where could she go, where could she go, what could happen, ’cause that would basically build the story. And it, and almost two hours had gone by and all of a sudden John Lassiter pounds his- pounds his fist on the table, which always means something is coming.
JMC: Like the light bulb just pops in his head.
PH: And we all looked at him, and he goes, pirates, she could run away and get hooked up with pirates, the pirates of Neverland. And from there a whole story just unfolded. So once he said that, we’re like, oh my gosh, we could introduce a young Captain Hook, oh my gosh, we could bring in the crocodile, oh my gosh, you know, it just started, we could see (it coming together)
JMC: Many ideas were thrown out in the room.
PH: So that was the approval that day, actually that day was like we said, let’s make this movie, let’s make this story, let’s move forward. So that was it. A little two hour moment and then, you know, it was really great, it was really-really fun. And it totally justified her action. That someone like Captain Hook could get her to do this. So it made her redeemable, which was really important to me.
JMC: But it is a huge responsibility to take on that legacy of Peter Pan and to start introducing those (characters), and we couldn’t change the world. And we had to make sure it, it was believable to go to where we all know, where Tick Tock Crock came from and where Hook came from and all. So there is a big responsibility in that. It’s same with working with the fairies. Working in that series there’s a lot of directors within the studio who have worked on the other movies. And it creates an incredibly challenging, in a positive way, creative team.
Q: Start to finish what was the time period?
PH: You know, we actually made this film in fifteen months.
Q: With all the fairies, will there be spinoffs?
JMC: You know we don’t have anything that we can talk about, ’cause it, it’s a director driven studio. So what we really do here is when the directors have a story they want to tell, that’s what they bring to the table and they decide to tell that story. And they talk about it with our teams.
PH: But we are in production on the next fairies film, yeah, we are in production.
Q I love the way it’s for boys and girls, the sequel was more for both?
JMC: Yeah it’s doing really well with boys, I mean, it, in general boys don’t tend to always be the market we have for this audience. But every time we screen we, we’ve brought boys in for our general audience screenings. And I have boys and my boy is almost thirteen and he said I’m not just kissing up to you, mom. I actually like your movie. (Laughing) It’s almost like as if he said he loves me in public.
Q: Were there any songs that didn’t make it into the movie that you wished made it?
JMC: That’s so normal that that happens but on this one no.
Q: Why didn’t the movie run in theaters?
PH: Well internationally we’re in forty-two markets. Internationally in theaters. And then we just make our movie and the Walt Disney Company, (decides where it will go). I mean, we’re at the El Cap right now, running at the El Cap is awesome. But, you know, we just our part is to make the movie…
JMC: The powers that be- be.